Distilled Spirits Council appoints new CEO

17th October, 2018 by Melita Kiely

US trade body the Distilled Spirits Council and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility have named Chris Swonger president and CEO of both organisations.


Chris Swonger has been appointed president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council

Beam Suntory’s Clarkson Hine was appointed interim CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council in June this year following the departure of former CEO and president Kraig R Naasz at the end of June.

Swonger’s appointment comes following a “strategic review process” and is designed to “more closely align” the missions and activities of the two groups.

He will join the Distilled Spirits Council on 12 November, and will take up his post with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (responsibility.org) from 1 January 2019.

Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America and chair of the Distilled Spirits Council, said: “Chris is a terrific fit to lead these organisations at a dynamic time in our industry.

“He brings a wealth of advocacy experience, vision and energy, along with background in our industry and outstanding passion for our commitment to responsibility.

“I would also like to thank interim CEO Clarkson Hine for his leadership and excellent work driving continued momentum at the council.”

Swonger most recently held the position of senior vice president for global government relations at Smith Group, a global technology company with interests in homeland security, defence, aerospace, energy and environment, and medical devices, to name just a few.

He said: “I’m looking forward to returning to the distilled spirits. I plan to vigorously promote moderation and responsibility, while advocating for market access, equal treatment and common-sense policies that enable the continued growth of the distilled spirits industry.

“And, I look forward to working closely with the boards of both organisations to maximise the impact of their respective visions, missions and strategies.”

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